she wasn’t too old; i don’t think she would have been over 50, but she looked at least a dozen years older. if you went by her frail body and the wrinkles on her skin; the numerous creases not stopping the streams of sweat that were flowing down her face. it is getting warmer these days, no doubt, and she also looked like she’d been in the sun long enough. her lips were dry, and she was trembling almost violently. i suspect it was fatugue and dehydration. she held a shaky palm out, apparently seeking alms, a picture not uncommon in the merciless city. ironically, it was outside one of the expensive restaurants, where people were stepping out after having paid fat sums of money for an elaborate meal in the comfort of air conditioning.

i usually don’t hesitate to part with what i have. i don’t subsribe to the logic that begging is a trade, and that beggars earn more than many of us, and other such ridiculous propositions. and even if it were true, i’d still want to give. for isn’t giving a privilege that not many get? my belief is that it is He who gives, but we, with our inflated egos assume the elevated stance of believing we are givers, whereas in truth, we’re just agents, middlemen, if i may call it that at the risk of sounding crude.

i don’t know why, but in this instance, giving didn’t occur to me initially. almost impulsively, i grabbed hold of her shivering hand with both my palms, i held it tight for a moment, and i asked her, “why are you standing here right under the sun?”

“i need to find some money, else i’ll starve. i’m not going to ear a few rupees by sitting under the shade”, she said.

i cast my eyes downward, to notice the bear minimum shadows cast by the sun right on top of our heads at noon time. my grip around her hand tightens, as i left my gaze to meet her expectant eyes. and i break out of my own thoughts. i empty out all the change i have, add more, and hand it over to her. if you’ve noticed most of them, they usually tend to inspect and count their ‘prize’ immediately. this lady, she didn’t count, as she accepted the money, it was her turn to grab hold of my hand.

tears are streaming down her cheeks now.

“where do you belong?”, i ask her.
“here, i have nobody, my son has thrown my out of the house and refuses to take care of me”, her voice sounding raspy, owing to a parched throat. as she spoke, she was looking at me, straight in the eye. a look that asked a thousand questions that i dare not even think about, let alone possibly answer. a look that is going to take me a while to forget.

not knowing what else to do, i moved close to her, and hugged her. we stayed there that way, for a few moments, before i abruptly released myself of her embrace and moved away, not looking back at her or the passers by who were doubtless casting glances our way.


34 thoughts on “

  1. As I’ve told you so many times earlier…You have a heart of gold Dharma…a beautiful luminous heart..God bless you :)I’m back…YES…I’m back on your nerves…My trip was lovely…had such a fun time and lots of yummilcious food. How have you been? :)Stay Beautiful…!!

  2. i dunno what to say Dharma. i wudnt praise your act because it wudnt be fair to do so… words wont suffice and after all i too believe in what you say about giving being a privilege and we are just middlemen. I’m just happy there are souls like you who open their hearts and pockets to give all they can..:)thank you..**hugs you back**:D

  3. That was a beautiful gesture. And I agree, it’s a privilege to be able to give at all. But to give of yourself thus takes courage.

  4. please try to stay as u r … many of us would have felt the same emotion as u did , but probably not gathered enough courage to do what u did …..u r sensitive and brave…

  5. DEAR ALL,a good friend of mine said, on seeing the comments here, how i was becoming made me a tinge sad, as the intention was definitely not that. it got me reflecting too – if i wasn’t exactly looking for praise, why did i post this?i am not sure. could it be to share and possibly inspire goodness? that would be a tall order. i suppose to me, it was a beautiful moment, and it happened entirely on impulse. call it a divine accident, like most things happen to us bums.there is also this frequent mention about unconditional giving. i am not sure how unconditional i was. or even exactly what unconditional connotes to me. i am also aware that to me, it is a lot easier to give to strangers, and when it comes to the ones i know, it becomes harder, as in my experience, giving leads to expectation, and expectation leads to misery :)to all of you though – for you exceedingly kind words – THANK YOU :)GAURI,inshallah!SMITA,i think thats a generalisation, about men, btu i’ll let it pass :)and thanks!ANON,whoever this is, thanks!always – is a word that gives me the jitters – always ;)CHUTNEY,thanks!THIYAGESH,thanks!PORXTER,glad u cud read what i meant. welcome here, and do come by more often.MISSALISTER,i know exactly what you mean. and believe me, in love, there is no more nor less!hugs!SUGARLIPS,long time! good to see you here, as always.thats a lot of praise. thanks, i always maintain – am just a bum :)i been good, thanks.TRINNIE,thanks – for not praising. i normally find it uncomfortable to handle :)VEENA,yes, thats exactly why we are here.DEVIL,i think it is easier than hard. thank you!D,not sure about the courage bit. impulse does need courage. in retrospect, may be, i don’t know.MUSH,glad to hear you guys are back, take care of the little one.hugs right back :)DRENCHED,welcome here! thanks a lot for your comment – do keep coming by more often.KESHI,thanks mate!BACKPAKKER,refer to my general comment – i’m not sure either, but thanks!JENNY,:)IWOBM,thank you, my dear friend. god exists in each of us, we are god!NAVEEN,thank you, brother. the attempt is to stay that way, the pitfalls are many :)SHINI,welcome to this space!we’re all just pupets in His hands, thats my firm belief.thanks for dropping by, do keep coming more often :)ADMIRATION,i see you commenting pretty regularly, may be you should tell me if this is someone i know?i agree with your friend. pls refer to my general comment above.HDWK,sometimes. i wanna make that all the time. how i wish! :)thank you!

  6. You really hugged her?May you always stay the same…! One doesn’t come across people doing that to the lesser blessed too often…I know not much about you, but atleast, I am happy I got to know you from this as someone who is probably the kind to spread the good effect on others.. :)[I am still in awe of the kind of experiences you have in life with such spiritual under-currents…]

  7. dharma,i had a similar experience recently.i remembered the lady in this post when i saw her.and,friend…i wrote about it(as per ur advice).i have a friend in our country,who is into begging due to poverty.he used to sit in front of the insitution i worked and say “God bless you” to everybody.It is from him that i learned that one can really be happy even in poverty.

  8. SOLITAIRE,welcome here!the idea was to inspire, in whatever small way this post could.thanks for your comment and do keep coming by.ASH,thank you :)MONSOON,welcome here, and thanks a ton!MISS I,thank you :)ANIL P,am SO glad you could read the ‘belonging’ that i felt at that point of time, and tried to convey in my own inefficient way. it was heartwarming, as is your comment :)MEHER,thank you, for your kind words. yes, i did hug her, and felt immensely happy, in a selfish sort of way, for i have no idea how she took it and i didn’t bother to ask.about not knowing – well i don’t know much about me either, but am attempting to find out for sure 🙂

  9. is it rnubandana that make people give? probably she gave you something somewhere long back? whatever it is, its good to be a medium for His acts. nothing surprising coming from you, knowing you. love all, Sujith

  10. SOLITAIRE,thanks to u too!SWAMI,u’ve spoken of rnanubandhana before – and like before i maintain, i don’t understand these big things!think there are few people who may know me as well as u do.

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